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Monday, 29 December 2008

Swimset

Cracking swimset this morning. 10 x 400m.
To be honest, I thought I'd be a little tired, but on the contrary, it was really nice to get in the pool and even though it was hard work, the time flew by and I posted some pleasing times.
About a minute up on where I was for 400m 6 months ago, so I must be doing something right!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Ribble Valley 10k results

http://www.ukresults.net/latest/ribble.html

Well, I got round, but not the time I was hoping for. But no surprise as no run form at all, due to a lack of run conditioning. Aerobically very strong and could have run at that pace over a half marathon. However, when I wanted to go faster, legs just could not respond. Hopefully some hard work over the next 3 months will put that right, and I will start being able to transfer that level of fitness into speed.
But always enjoyable to be out racing, and a lovely course, lovely sunshine, just bloody cold!!!
The road running scene is obviously very strong in Lancashire, as I was well down the field with a time of 40' 27". 2 minutes would have shifted me up nearly 100 places, but placing for me is almost always irrelevant.
Bring on 2009!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Ribble Valley 10k

Merry Christmas everyone!
It's been a good week, slightly easier on the training as I haven't had to commute, nor have I had much access to a swimming pool. Full of turkey and mince pies and full of festive cheer, although still a lack of sleep!!
But I'm off to run in Clitheroe tomorrow, and at the moment as I write, I'm not up for it at all. In fact I really don't want to run hard at all. But I'm sure that will change. I'm looking at sub 37 minutes for this one. If I can run at somewhere around 6:10 min/mile pace then I'll be happy. That will be a pb by a long way. I've had 4 weeks of consistent run training, albeit slowly getting myself back into some condition, and a long way of my best, but the swimming will help with the aerobic stuff, just hope my legs can hold out for an intense effort.
As for race tactics, I'll start off steady and try to negative split it. if I can go through 5k in under 19, then I'm in with a good chance of making 37. But as long as I just put in 100% then I'll be happy to get round and a good time will be a bonus.
Running is not my strongest discipline, but I know my weaknesses and I am now addressing them with the help of my coach and it will be nice to put a marker down for future progress. Results and pics to follow!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Ho ho ho

Well, here ends another good week in the training department.
4 swim sessions, 3 runs, 2 bikes, commuting on bike to and from work. Legs holding up well, knee now stronger and completely pain free. I've lost weight, leaner and stronger. And bloody tired! Need a bit more sleep really, but not much of a chance with a 7 month old noisy boy in the house!

Got an easy week coming up, which culminates in a 10k in Clitheroe, I'll just attack it and run hard and see what happens. Don't know what to expect, and not sure how fresh my legs will be, but it will be nice to run back up North. I'll swim 3 times, bike 2 or 3 and run twice before next Sunday, all easy stuff, apart from the swims, they are tough!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

bike box


Good friend of mine sent me this pic. This has got to be the best packed bike box ever!!! Tunnocks Tea cakes, lovely!!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Steve Moneghetti

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Moneghetti

Interesting info on one of the world's best ever marathon runners. He's also now one of the world's best marathon running coaches!
Did one of his famed interval sets today. It hurt!!!!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Training Update

So far so good.
Ticking along nicely and building a good base. Feeling pretty good, although a little more sleep would be nice!
Had a really positive week last week. 4 hard swim sessions mon-thur. 3 run sessions including a hill session and a longish off-road run, about 70 minutes. One hour easy on the bike on Saturday, followed by a ride back home from Southampton yesterday, about 70k. Was good ride, and nice to get out on the bike with no set workout to do, just ride. Back in the pool today for a solid set, 10 x 300m, making good progress and swim fitness is definitely improving. More pooltime for the next 3 days, run tomorrow and Thurs. Commuting to work everyday, off-road run Saturday and then long bike Sunday. It's good to be getting back to work and feeling in much btter shape.

Had my knee scan today, will get the results next week or whenever I get to see my consultant. Hopefullly all will be ok, as I now enter my 4th pain free week!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

RIP Facebook

Today I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. I just got so sick of people adding me as a friend and not bother even sending me a message and yet still bombard me with all the crap requestes and spam email rubbish. Even worse were the ignorant people who could not be bothered in sending a reply to genuine messages. And these are/were so called friends! Well life is too short for holding on to crap, so adios.
As for training, update to come, but all good so far. Leaner, meaner, fitter, stronger. And a bit tired as well! That's having two boys and a wife to look after!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

New paddles


Another excellent training aid purchased from swimshop.co.uk, that I have not really used before. Speedo biofuse paddles, to help me learn to hold onto the water better and make me a stronger swimmer.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Triathlon photos and things

I have uploaded some tri photos of races on flickr.com :
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevebirtwistle/
I also post other photos of triathon races, not just me, so if anybody wants to post anything then feel free.
In fact if there is anybody else reading this then please feel free to send me links to websites and other tri stuff, and I'll add them on the site.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

New Trail Shoes


Latest bit of gear for off-road running. Never got on with Nike shoes before, but these are great. My first ever pair of Nikes.

On my doorstep

Well, I went for a 70 minute easy run this afternoon. Harry suggested I find some soft ground, but I was struggling to find any off-road trails. But then I set off and just headed in the direction of Wareham Forest, and before i knew it, after 20 minutes I was on the heathland, quiet and peaceful, sun just going down and fresh air. Great trail runing country. Did 9 miles at an easy 8 min/mile pace, and felt really good.
Got a new pair of Nike Zoom trail running shoes, and what a difference. I've never had dedicated off road shoes before and I am very impressed with them, feet feel very secure over alsorts of terrain and through mud and water. Feet stayed warm and comfortable inspite of the wet and cold and plenty of cushioning and support but feet felt very solid as the shoes gripped everything they touched. Will certainly look at wearing them for next season's UK 70.3 as the run leg is mostly off road.
Feels good to have found my running legs again. Knee is now pain free. Went out and did an hour on the bike this morning, felt a slight ache in the knee but not at all surprised as there was frost on the ground still, puddles icy and a chill wind. But span away at a good cadence, not pushing hard, and in fact, by the time I got home I felt like I had just got warmed up, and could ride a lot more. But I'm sticking to my plan, and not getting ahead of myself, as I don't want to overdo things at this stage of my winter base training.

First week of training

Well, as it's nearly Sunday, and the next working week approaches, time to reflect on my first coached week of training. Very much about base and getting myself back into things. Still rough, and Harry is trying to get an idea of where I'm at and what I'm capable of doing on a weekly basis. Focus at the moment is swimming, without a doubt, and after 4 hard sessions this week I feel the improvements already and I certainly know where my inefficiencies lie. Poor catch. But I now have the drills to work on improving it and stop slipping the water. My swim fitness is improving with the more time spent swimming and my feel for the water is far better than ever before, so it's all positive. With hard work and the proper application of the drills I should be able to really bring my swim times down significantly.
So, 4 hours swimming, 3 hours running and 6 hours on the bike, has got me back into the swing of things. Nothing too hard on the cycling front yet, and the running is easing me back into things. The same kind of week next week including 4 solid swim sessions which I'm really looking forward to, even if my arms and lungs aren't!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Clearwater Photos






It's been interesting comparing photos of UK 70.3 and Worlds 70.3, and what a difference. For UK I was really lean and race fit, a lot less body fat and certainly more power in the legs. Clearwater I was clearly out of shape and had put on several pounds. I suffered in the heat on the run and found the lack of conditioning, particularly on the run took its toll.

Clearwater 70.3 is on the left and Wimbleball 70.3 on the right. More photos from Clearwater below.



I'm determined to get back there next year and will put things right.

Monday, 1 December 2008

New Coach

As of today I am now officially under the coaching arm of Harry Wiltshire through DrivenToTri .
Very excited about this. Harry has got me stuck into my swimming and we can start building my swim fitness and technique up to get near to where I should be swimming. It's so nice to have some structure to my swimming. Never had it before and I would get in the pool at a bit of a loss as what to do and just end up swimming up and down doing various 100, 200, 400 sets, without any clear goals. But now my swimming goals have been identified and I have some focus and a way of reaching them. Already after only a couple of swim tests and today's swim session I am feeling better in the pool. After 12 weeks of structured swimming I am confident I will be swimming much more efficiently and my fitness will help transfer itself to the other 2 discplines which is good whilst I build myself back up from my knee injury.
I've been eating healthy since I came back from Florida, leaving out the chocolate and having smaller portions at mealtimes. I feel lighter already and once I can get back into some form of running then hopefully I'll be able to drop some more weight. Ideal weight is 13 stone. I'm 13st 12 at the moment, but that's dropping nicely. By Christmas should be around 13st 7, and well on the way to a leaner body shape!

Knee update

Well, after a visit to the specialist on my physio's recommendation, my knee is looking good. There is no structural damage, the patella is now tracking correctly and the vassus medialis qaud is building back up nicely, still a little weak, but a few weeks strengthening should be ok. Now pain free which is a bonus. That's the god news. The bad news is that I have been asked to go for a scan, as there may be a little piece of dislodged cartilage. Not causing any problems really, but it may be something that can be removed. Will consist of a small procedure under GA, and they would clean out the knee. 4 weeks of rehab, and all back to normal, good to go. That's the worst case scenario so I'm feeling positive about things. However, if I'm going to have that done I'd rather it be sooner rather than later. Don't want to build up a good base through winter and then get into March and have to have 4 weeks off whilst I recover. WIll have scan in 2-3 weeks so will know more then. Unfortunately no health insurance to cover it, so will probably be on NHS which would mean a long wait. But we'll see. I'm staying upbeat about the whole thing and I'm just happy that I can now build myself back up pain free!